President Maithripala Sirisena says the National Economic Council which was appointed by him to make a comprehensive transformation in the agriculture and industrial sectors in the country, with the objective of strengthening the national economy, will meet for the first time on 12 September.
He stated that the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank had agreed to grant financial support for this initiative.
He expressed his confidence over the success of this program to strengthen the economy of the country.
The President made these remarks at a ceremony to open the Agricultural Services Training Center in Karadiyanaru in Batticaloa last week.
He said the entire country should be prepared for the agricultural war in the coming season, after the rainfall which will follow the current dry weather.
President Sirisena stated an agricultural week will be declared in the first week of October and a comprehensive agricultural program which will unite the entire country will be implemented during the week. He said a Cabinet decision will be taken to unite all ministries and institutions for this program.
He further asserted that paddy fields of 800,000 hectares will be cultivated under this agricultural program. He said the Government would provide the required 4,000,000 bushels of seed paddy to farmers.
“Through all development activities, the Government has given priority to save the people from poverty and strengthen their economy. I will not keep the people in hunger whatsoever the challenges I have to face,” he emphasised.
The President stated that about 800,000 families in 14 districts had been affected by the dry weather conditions. He said the Government was spending Rs. 3,100 million to provide them with dry rations.
The Karadiyanaru Service Training Center was established in 1980 and closed down in 1986 due to the country’s civil conflict. It was re-established in 2016 under the guidance of President Sirisena with a Rs. 83 million donation from the European Union and Rs. 20 million allocation from the Sri Lankan Government. This was also supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The objective of this program is to increase productivity, manage soil resources, create room for a commercial agricultural system, modernise agriculture through modern technology and promote a modern farming system under an environmental and humanitarian system.
The President also launched the website of the Agricultural Services Training Center. Eastern Province Governor Rohitha Bogollagama, Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamad, Deputy Minister Amir Ali, Eastern Provincial Minister Ariyawathie Galappaththi and Eastern Provincial Agricultural Minister K. Thurairajasingam were among those present at the occasion.